Cycling is like life. Cycling with no goal is meaningless. What meaning is there cycling in circles? Or living aimlessly? Meaning comes from direction and destination. Join me in my life's journey on a mountain bike :)

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Italy vs England

Woodlands, 56 km. Leather boots, leather ball. But this age-old battle that involves me doesn’t have to do with football. It’s with saddles. I’ve worn out two Italian saddles - the classic Selle Italia (estd 1897) Flite (official website states the saddle is due for retirement past 15,000 km). It’s been hard looking for a non-gel version of Flite here. And I’m tired of replacing my saddle every few years. Tour de France cyclists ride thousands of km on handmade in Italy saddles, but legend has it that tourers cycle tens of thousands of km on the venerable handmade in England Brooks (estd 1886).

I get out of bed and rush, not to get to work, but to cycle while the sun shines. It’d been raining for 40 hours (whew, not 40 days). This is my first ride with Brooks. It’s like sitting on a plank if one wears padded shorts. Tap the seat, it sounds like knock on wood. Without padded shorts, it’d be like sitting on concrete. The inaugural ride is uncomfortable, but not painful.

Brooks started when the founder’s horse died and he couldn’t quite afford another one. Someone lent him a bicycle, which left him with a pain in the butt. So he made a leather saddle and the rest is history. The company almost rolled into oblivion but about a decade ago, a rescuer rode in and saved the company. The investor? An Italilan company, Selle Royal (estd 1956) ...

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